Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education

This 30-unit program consists of 7 required courses and a choice of 3 electives. The required courses provide students with advanced preparation in child growth and development, cultural and linguistic diversity, early childhood curricula, equity, and social justice, in addition to research methodologies. The program places a special emphasis on teacher research as a primary methodology of inquiry for all early childhood practitioners. Coursework also focuses on understanding child development within varied social and cultural contexts, culturally responsive teaching and curriculum development for diverse populations, and providing family and community support. The culminating experience requirement for the M.A. in early childhood education is the completion of a thesis or field study. Students are encouraged to be working or volunteering in ECE settings during their course of study.

Admission to Program

Application for admission to the program requires the following:

  1. Apply to the department and the university by completing the on-line CalState Apply application. Follow all other requirements for admission to the department and university by accessing On CalState Apply, please submit a written statement of purpose (2-page minimum). The statement of purpose should describe the applicant’s goals for seeking the M.A. in Early Childhood Education, and describe the applicant’s level of academic and professional preparation for the degree. The content and writing skill demonstrated will be evaluated as part of the admissions decision and to determine if the candidate has met Level One Written Language Proficiency at admission (see below). Also, on CalState Apply, submit two letters of recommendation: one letter from an instructor addressing the applicant’s ability to pursue graduate-level work, and one letter providing evidence of recent work experience with young children. For help on applying, please go to
  2. Possession of an elementary teaching credential or the completion of a minimum of 12 units in professional course work relevant to early childhood education, including courses in child development and early childhood curriculum.
  3. A minimum of one full year successful experience working with young children.

Written English Proficiency Requirement

Level One

Applicants are assessed on the application essay based upon the early childhood education program’s criteria. The evaluation rubric considers:

  1. mechanics and style,
  2. coherence and argumentation,
  3. and content, that is, the relevancy of applicants’ experience and goals to that of the program.

Depending on their essay scores, applicants are either admitted, admitted conditionally, or denied admission. Applicants admitted conditionally are required to earn a minimum grade of B in the program approved writing intensive courses, E ED 721 or E ED 707 with instructor approval.

Level Two

Students are assessed on the quality of their culminating experience, E ED 895 or E ED 898.

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Articulate how theories and practices in one or more of the major early childhood theoretical frameworks come to be accepted, contested, changed, and implemented in the early childhood field.
  2. Evaluate the quality of early childhood curricula and assessments on the basis of their sources and the methods used to generate that information.
  3. Analyze educational, social, and cultural issues as well as ethical dilemmas that arise out of early childhood research, discoveries, and applications.
  4. Construct coherent and sound inquiry and reflection goals and practices with support from multiple sources, including online and library resources as well as other existing resources in the field of early childhood education.
  5. Analyze issues of equity, access, and social justice related to children’s learning and teaching and leadership practices in early childhood contexts.  Apply this analytical knowledge to their own lives and to ways in which they can contribute purposefully to the well-being of their local educational institutions and communities.
  6. Apply the methods of practitioner inquiry and analysis characteristic of one or more of the education disciplines related to the study of child development, teaching practices, leadership, and curriculum as related to the appropriate cultural, linguistic, and educational contexts.

Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education — 30 units

Core (18 units)

E ED 707Early Development and Learning in Diverse and Inclusive Settings 13
E ED 708Language and Literacy in the Early Years 23
E ED 709Instructional Leadership and Program Curriculum Evaluation in Early Childhood Education3
E ED 717Narrative Inquiry and Memoir in Early Childhood Education3
E ED 801Practitioner Inquiry and Early Childhood Professional Development and Administration3
E ED 878Critical Perspectives and Reconceptualizing Early Childhood Education3

E ED 786 can be substituted for E ED 707.


E ED 782 can be substituted for E ED 708.

Electives (9 units)

Select 9 units from the following:

E ED 700Early Childhood Socialization in a Culturally Diverse Community3
E ED 704Play and the Artistic Lives of Children3
E ED 715Families in Early Childhood Settings and Communities3
E ED 721International Education in Early Childhood and Elementary Education3
E ED 806Organizational Development, Management, and Adult Supervision3
E ED 825Early Childhood Education Policy and Advocacy: Quality, Access, and Equity3
E ED 850Mathematics and Science Inquiry for Children3
Other GCOE and University courses under advisement (two course limit) These courses must be upper-division or graduate coursesMax 6
  • Up to 12 units of recent coursework in the SF State Multiple Subject Credential can be counted toward the MA in Early Childhood Education.

Culminating Experience (3 units)

E ED 895 is a project-based culminating experience. Students will complete an original research project based on the practitioner research model. A project is a significant undertaking appropriate to the fine and applied arts or to professional fields. It evidences originality and independent thinking, appropriate form and organization, and a rationale. It is described and summarized in a written abstract that includes the project's significance, objectives, methodology and a conclusion or recommendation. An oral defense of the project may be required. 

E ED 895Field Study Project3